Dubbed “The Donaldson Complex,” the fire is being fueled primarily by grass, according to reports.
Precautionary evacuations are being conducted for Alamo Canyon by the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office and Emergency Service, according to an 8 p.m. update issued by the Pecos Zone Type III Interagency Incident Management Team, which assumed command of the firefighting effort Tuesday afternoon.
The fire is but one of three currently considered “active” in the Lincoln County area – The Capitan Fire, another lightning strike blaze, had burned about 20 acres as of noon Tuesday, according to Kathryn Minter, public information officer for Lincoln County Fire, and a third blaze is burning on the Mescalero Apache Reservation.
As of 7 p.m., Minter had no information on the progress of the Mescalero fire.
With heavy smoke evident in the Ruidoso area, residents there, as well as Ruidoso Downs, Capitan, Lincoln, Hondo, Fort Stanton, Tinnie, San Patricio and surrounding areas with respiratory problems are advised to stay indoors with their windows closed.
“I would recommend people not use their swamp coolers,” Minter said.
According to Ruidoso village officials, the fire is approximately 25 away from the village, and Ruidoso is "currently not threatened."
"We are monitoring the Donaldson Complex fire closely
and in close contact with the Pecos Zone Team," said Interim Fire Chief Harlan Vincent. "Although we have a significant amount of smoke in the air, the village of Ruidoso is not in any imminent danger.
The Pecos Zone Type III Team assumed command of the Donaldson Complex Fire – so named because two separate fires, the Donaldson and the Game, merged into one larger blaze, according to Vincent.
At 8 p.m., officials said the fire was "observed with strong pushes towards Pajarita Mountain and is currently burning within the Mescalero Apache Reservation."
Vincent said firefighters were hoping that darkness and cooler temperatures would allow for successful efforts in “knocking it down.”
According to Pecos Zone Team Public Information Officer Jennifer Myslivy, the Donaldson is burning on private land, with five outbuildings and one primary residence currently considered threatened.
In the 8 p.m. update, it was reported that ground crews and four SEAT tankers, one air attack aircraft and a C-130 Module Aerial Fire Fighting Support aircraft were fighting the fire, which is burning in “rough inaccessible terrain.”
Officials have issued the following alert:
If you live near the fire, you should always be ready for emergencies including evacuations, the three-step process is easy to remember and implement:
• Ready – Take personal responsibility and prepare before the threat of a wildland fire so your home is ready in case of a fire. Create defensible space by clearing brush away from your home. Use fire-resistant landscaping and harden your home with fire-safe construction measures. Assemble emergency supplies and belongings in a safe spot. Plan escapes routes. Make sure all those residing within the home know the plan of action.
• Set – Act immediately. Pack your vehicle with your emergency items. Remember your six P’s: people, personal computers, pets, pills, papers and pictures. Stay aware of the latest news and information on the fire from local media and your local fire department.
• Go – Leave early! Follow your personal action plan. Doing so will not only support your safety, but will allow firefighters to best maneuver resources to combat the fire.